College Stores Offer Students Textbook Lessons on Savings
OBERLIN, OH – When college students return to campus this fall semester, savvy shoppers will head to their campus stores to take advantage of various money-saving options offered on course materials such as rentals, used or electronic textbooks, custom content, and more.
Seventy-nine percent of students that purchased one or more course materials during the 2018-2019 academic year did so at the campus bookstore, according to Student Watch™: Attitudes and Behaviors Toward Course Materials. Student Watch™ is developed by OnCampus Research, the research arm of the National Association of College Stores (NACS).
Since 2008 student spending on college course materials has declined by 41 percent. In the 2018-2019 academic year alone spending fell by 14 percent. These declines are due to a variety of innovations developed by college stores and their parent institutions. Stores now offer used and rental textbooks as well as digital course content at prices comparable to online vendors. These options are often one-third to half the price of buying a new textbook.
College stores were the first in higher education to embrace and innovate price comparison shopping. Also, many campus stores offer price matching, price guarantees, rebates, discounts for early reservations, free in-store pickup for online orders, and buy-now, pay-later options.
NACS offers the following tips to students on ways to save:
- Shop early. It doesn’t pay to procrastinate. The sooner students shop, the more likely they are to find a good selection of used books and rentals.
- Make sure to ask the store staff about the various savings programs offered. Staff members are eager to help.
- Check the campus store’s website for a price-comparison marketplace tool.
- Rent course materials. Renting materials from the campus store helps avoid the shipping hassles and returns students may experience with online companies and surprise charges.
- Buy used or electronic textbooks and course materials. These options are often one-third to half the price of buying a new print textbook.
- Inquire whether your college or university offers a discounted course material fee program. Some institutions use discounted fee programs to further reduce the cost of required course materials and allow students to try digital materials for free before being charged after the add-drop date.
- Know the refund policy. If a student drops a class or the professor decides not to use the textbook, the student will need to return it before the deadline to get a full refund.
- Students should not write in or unwrap books or course materials until they are certain they will keep them. Most sellers won’t give full credit for course materials that have been marked up or opened.
- Keep receipts in a safe place. Most retailers require them for returns. Receipts can also be turned into cash through the American Opportunity Tax Credit. See www.textbookaid.org.
- Don’t forget about shipping costs if shopping online. Know the full price of buying online. If students need to return a book, they need to know the costs involved.
- Use a credit card when buying from online sellers in case a charge needs to be disputed.
Most campus stores have flexible return policies that mirror campus deadlines. Students can avoid any hidden shipping and handling fees and the inconvenience of having to ship materials back to multiple online sellers (and remembering where they got each item).
About The National Association of College Stores
The National Association of College Stores (NACS) is the professional trade association representing the collegiate retailing industry. NACS represents campus retailers and industry-related companies that supply course materials and other merchandise and services to campus stores. NACS provides education and other resources that help its member stores support student success, the campus experience and the missions of higher education institutions.